Monthly Archives: October 2010

Nothing to report..Almost

It’s true.

I have not sewn a stitch, cut a fabric, traced a pattern or knitted more than four rounds since Sunday. Horrible week!

First there was the Paypal thingy problems. Which turn out is probably my own fault for not paying close enough attention to the Paypal e-mails (I’m always afraid that they are fake SPAM e-mails with vira that will ruin my computer and subsequently my life…). I had been wondering about why I didn’t get any Paypal messages, but it wasn’t until a kind costumer informed me of the issue, that I actually took time to look into it and get Dennis to do something about it.. It took a lot of work for him – but now Paypal is working again!!!

The other thing that took my energy away from sewing and knitting was the dreaded parents/teacher conference last night. I don’t know why I get so nervous. I have had a few of those conferences where parents (usually fathers) do act very aggresive, but mostly everybody is really nice and we all want what is best for the kids, anyway. But it gets me every time. A few days before I start getting nervous and stomach pain etc. It’s like a big test (that I know I can pass, so why do I get so anxious??).
Anyway. It went really well (naturally) and now there are almost 6 months to go before the next..

Today my son had a minor surgery that had been planned for a while (nothing serious).  He is a big boy – almost 13 years old, and he was really cool about it. He only held my hand because the doctor told him to (or so he said). He is feeling fine, and was released almost immediately, so now he is resting in his room, and enjoying that he is not allowed to be active (run, ride bikes, play football) for 10 days.  His classmates came by with a book they had all made him (with drawings and things like only pre-teeens can make them), and to see how happy he became really put tears in my eyes.

Tonight I am going to knit more than 4 rounds!

Parting shot of the last tomato of the year, I have cleared out the greenhouse this week!

Snapshots from my week-end

First: Important message: Paypal is acting up. Apparently a lot of peple have had trouble paying with Paypal in the shop the last couple of days. The webmaster (you know – Dennis :-))is looking into it – but until he can work it out, you are very welcome to e-mail me at mariaATshoponionDOTcom (substitute At for @ and DOT for.) with your order, so that I can process it manually. I’ll need your address and paypal account address, as well as your order.
Now on with the regular posting:

Wow – the week-end swooshed by!

Most of all because I was spending a lot of time adding yarn to the shop. It’s an experiment. I asked my costumers if they would be interested in the luxurious Onion yarn and I got quite a lot of people saying they would be. SO I ordered a bunch and started adding the yarn to the shop. I have added a bulky weight Alpaca/wool blend and a DK weight superfine Merino. The Alpaca is really soft and feels wonderfull to knit with. Also looks great with cables. The superfine Merino is 100% superwash wool and also soft, but mostly it’s noted for it’s great stitch definition – and it comes in so many colours!

BTW – I’m having an indroductory offer with 25% off! – Should you be interested.. – Feel free to spread the word!!

They are both lovely yarns, and I’m curious to see if my regular sewing customers will buy it…
socks and cat
That was Friday and Saturday taken care of. Well, I did manage to knit a bit – mostly I worked on my fathers ragsocks – knitted in aran weight sock yarn. I don’t know if it’s been too long since I last knitted a sock, but I had big problems with working out the heel (was knitting late at night and watching a movie..).

Sunday, Lisbeth came to see me. We had such a great time talking and knitting and sorting out my personal yarn stash and swapping yarn and sewing patterns and having tea and talking and knitting – you get the picture. I had to rip out the heel of the stupid sock 3 time – because I was trying out new techniques that didn’t really work for me… (I know. My own fault!)

We talked a lot about the shop – and Lisbeth had a fantastic idea that really made my mind reel and that I’m very excited about. I can’t share it right now, but will as soon as I can! All in all a fantastic day!

Lisbeth had only just left, when my father and his wife arrived with a door for my room. When I cast on the socks for my father, I was told that he wears a size 43 in shoes. But it turns out that he is indeed wearing a size 45 – and that the sock (which was pretty d*** close to being finished) is too small!

Needless to say, I threw it into the knitting basket and have been knitting on my Raspberry Jumper since that.

A Batwing sleeve top

This week I also finished this:


Off with her head... Sufficent to say that Dennis took this picture.. ;-)

It’s a batwing sleeve t-shirt from ONION 5015 - but with a rather significant alteration! Read on:

This pattern is originally for a semifitted batwing sleeve top, which is gathered at the waist by a self-fabric ribbing edge. I don’t want a top to hit me right at my waist with a diagonally line, so I extended the front and back.

lengthening the pattern

I simply added the 14 cm to the front and back, respecively.

 The pattern is pretty simple: A front, a back and a waist ribbing. I simply added 14 cm to the front and back, without changing the width, and left the ribbing piece as is.

The sewing was very fast and easy: shoulder seam, side seams, add waist ribbing, add ribbing for neckline. Hem sleeves. Only time consuming part was the pressing and waiting for the pressed seams to cool off. 

I have for a long time used a towel wrapped tightly around a Sunday newspaper (secured with rubber bands) when I’m pressing long seams (as a long seam roll). Unfortunately, this newspaper and these rubber bands felt that they had  paid their dues. So when I was pressing the first seam, it all came apart. It’s not easy to find a Sunday newspaper on a Monday!
Also it needs to be a big format newspaper – and almost all the Danish papers have changed format to an easy handle fomat. Which is great when you read them, but not so great when you need to make an easy seam roll.  Might be time I make a more permanent one… future project!

These last couple of days, the weather has been wonderful and I have been outside clearing some of the mess in the greenhouse and garden. Lovely days with some fresh air before winter comes. So not much sewing or knitting. But there will be tomorrow!

oct 2010

There's so much to do in the garden..


.. I finally taught my sister to knit!

After all these years - she is finally knitting!

The sock and I were in Copenhagen to hang out with my baby sister and we were shopping and having lunch.
I now my sister is hooked on knitting! ha ha ha ha (*evil laughter*)

Otherwise I am working on my sewing room and knitting away – when I’m not shopping way too much fabric and yarn. More news tomorrow..

Finished dress!

I had a little time to play this afternoon and finally got to the finishing of my latest ONION 2026. I have made maybe 8 of these – a few have died – but I think I have enough now!!


Made in blue-gray viscose jersey (from Stof&Stil)

 I changed the neckline a bit on this version (I made the front edge a little lower) and added a narrow edge to the 3/4 length sleeves in the contrasting fabric. Also note, that I have raised the hemline quite a bit from the original pattern. My version is a size small with a upper rounded back alteration.

Here is how I’m wearing it today (it’s getting cold. Maybe I should just turn on the furnace..):


Almost hiding my dress for winter

I am wearing it with brown suede boots, the brown chunky knit cardigan and my #stashbustarmy shawl. I think I’m going to put on some heavier tights, though.

I also finished the batwing sleeve top! But no pics yet. ..

Fitting trousers (or pants, depending on where you are :-))

I wrote and posted this tutorial in 2007. The pictures aren’t very good, but they’ll illustrate what I write about. I’ve updated the post a bit and changed links etc. Enjoy:

Do you know the feeling that suddenly some item of clothing has completely vanished from your closet (like suddenly you have no t-shirts or no socks, or indeed no trousers – at all!)? In 2007 I suddenly had no trousers/pants – they were all worn out or too small or had holes. So I sewed something like 5 pairs in a row (from 3 different patterns).

Anyone is able to sew their own trousers, but I’ve heard even talented and experienced sewers saying, that they just can’t make trousers , so that’s why I’m now inviting anyone interested to follow the creation of some – and maybe even get inpired to try for themselfes!

The most inportant thing, to get a wellfitting pair of trousers is – in my opinion – to adjust the pattern before cutting into fabric. It sounds like a lot of work, but you only do it once with every new pattern (unless you gain or loose 5 kg, then you have to try the pattern on again) and you can use the same pattern again and again! The entire process of adjusting the pattern usually takes me 2 or 3 hours, including tracing the pattern at the beginning, and you don’t have to do it all on the same day!

I learned the techniques from the book Pants for Real People and from following discussions on

Pants for RealPeople

Great fitting book!

Today there are many more trouser/pants fitting books available, but I haven’t tried any of them, so I cannot give any recommendations besides this one.

Well, let’s get to i!

In this tutorial I’m making myself a pair of dress trousers. I used ONION 4009  (sadly now Out Of Print – I’m hoping for them to be reprinted) because 1: they have really wide legs, which I really like and 2: they have a wide waistband, which is great for keeping any stomack-fluff hidden! And then they are simple to sew.

First thing I do is tracing the pattern onto tracing paper. You can use any kind, but I prefer Swedish tracing paper or similar soft tissue/almost-like-interfacing-paper.

In the first picture I have traced the pattern and left plenty of room for extra wide seam allowances – or really for the alterations – leave at least 5 cm (or 2 inches) . Use the size that correspond with your hip-width.

Then I pin the front and back piece together, to make the pattern ready for trying on (yep, really!).

Pattern pinned at the side seams. I place pins 5 cm apart and straight at the stitching line.


A piece of elastic around the waist keeps the pattern pieces up (and here is where I am a little shy) and then I’m ready to evaluate the pattern fit. I use a big mirror and a hand held mirror to see myself from behind, and I just started using the timer function on my camera – and that is really great for a more objective evaluation!

showing me trying on the front piece, only this is actually a pic from another pattern alteration

All the alterations shown here are really just for me, each body needs different alterations on different patterns, but checking the side-seams and the center-front and center-back is the same for everyone.

I begin by having a look at the front piece. The crotch seam has to reach the center front (right uder my belly button). It didn’t on me, so I have to let out the side seam. If you use  pattern with front darts, it might be enough to just let the darts out (you really only need those if you are under 25 and still have a stomach that goes inward :-)

Repinning the side seam

Once the sideseams are corrected (take off the pattern, undo the pins and lay the pattern flat before you repin), I’m trying it on again to see if the back piece crotch seam reaches my center back. This one did, but it’s easy to see that there is not enough material to cover everything (my bum), so I have to add material to the back piece to make it reach the elastic.

Not enough material to cover everything…

I place the pattern flat, and tape additional tracing paper to the piece.

Adding more tissue paper to the back pattern piece

Then I try the pattern on again and check to see if everything is ok so far, before I move on. (In this pic, I didn’t pull the pattern paper up right. You are supposed to do that!)

Tissue added. You are supposed to pull the tissue up properly (so it lies against the body!)

Now I move on, concentrating on evaluating weird folds and lines. As you have been doing this with different patterns a few times, you begin to realise that you always need to do the same kind of alterations (if you use European patterns, anyway, because they are almost all drafted from nearly the same sloper).

In my case it’s something about the width of the back piece on trousers. There always seem to be too much material across (I’ve already done the vertical tuck following the grainline on these before tracing), and also usually something with folds just under the buttocks.

Also on this pattern – in this picture I’ve folded and pinned the redundant material, to see how much needs to go…

The folds pinned (the more white part on the back of my thigh)

How to fix this is a little complicated, I need to make what is called a “fish-eye-dart”, without actually sewing it (so it has to be in the pattern piece). Debbie Cook explained it very well, so there is no need for me to repeat it – look HERE for a tutorial on this alteration!

Other problems are well described in the book, and also people are always ready to help solving “folds and lines” at Patternreview!

All alterations must be transfered to the pattern pieces:

Use a permanent marker to draw the changes on to the pattern pieces.

Since everything is now ok (It doesn’t have to be perfect!! ), the side seams hang nicely and the more obviously fold and lines are gone, I’m going to prepare the pattern for cutting.

I always add seam allowances to patterns I know I’m going to use more than once. In this case I’m adding 2 cm to side seams and waist, 1,5 cm to crotch seam and inseam and 4 cm to the hem. I note this on the pattern, but also on a post-it note I can stick to the sewing machine while sewing the pattern.

And then I have to remember to adjust the waistband pattern pieces so they fit the front and back pieces.

To sum it up: First look at and fix the front, second the back. Then look at weird fold lines and finally transfer the alterations to the pattern!

When all this is done, I’m ready to cut the fabric…..

I’m using a grey drapey fabric for this pair.

Finished Shawl

The #Stashbustarmy shawl(ette) is done.


The #Stashbustarmy shawlette

I started this inspired by hearing about other Stashbustarmy projects. I decided to use some of my good yarn, that was just waiting for a project. So I cast this one on.

How Í made it:

I just started this by beginning the same way as when I cast on for Ishbel and Traveling Woman:

CO 3st, work 6 rows, pick up and knit 3 st along the side, then 3 st along the CO row. = 9 st

Working right side like this:
k3, YO, knit to center st, YO, knit Center stitch,YO, knit to last 3 st, YO, k3.

Working wrong side like this:
k3, YO, p to last 3 st, YO, k3.

This was perfect for mindless knitting. No need for counting – justfast faorward (and yet a tiny bit of variation).
I continued until the shawl was 150 cm wide, then I did one row of K2tg, Yo (actually I did SSK on the first half, K2tgt on the second half), then I knit 6 rows (3 garter st ridges) before binding off using this method: knit 1, knit 1, slip both st back to left needle, SSK, knit 1, slip both st back sto left needle, etc.. which gives a nice stretchy bind off edge.

Before blocking it looked like this and wasn't very soft.

 The Evilla yarn is not very soft. There is still spinning oil in it, and soome dye too.

After a nice soak and blocking, it looks and feels much better!

After blocking - softer (but still filled with cat hair)

In other knitting news: The Raspberry jumper is coming along nicely:

Moving along nicely - waist shaping almost done...

More about sewing tomorrow!

Work Work Work

This week, work (you know, the thing I have to do, that pays the bills and takes time away from crafting) has been insanely busy. Meetings that has stretched well into the evenings, conversations with parents after that, and no time or energy to sew anything.
But all the meeting activety has giving me plenty of chances to knit. So the #Stashbustarmy Shawl is almost done (I’m casting off) and I’ve started the waist shaping on the Raspberry. No pictures of anything, today.

I haven’t shown you the cats, have I? This is Knirke and Pippi

These two don't have to go to work...

New Arrivals

Yesterday the mailman came with this:

The Patternreview book!

The Patternreview book!

I haven’t read it yet, but it looks reallyfun and useful!

I started  using in 2003 and the site has meant so much for my sewing skills and my life. Without Patternreview I wouldn’t have reviewed Onion patterns, people wouldn’t have asked me about them, and I would have never started the coop and then the shop and the translations.

I have met so many wonderful people through PR. I’ve been attending several of the European gatherings (and arranged the one in Denmark in 2005 – shortly before my wedding) and met a lot of lovely people there. I met one of my closest friend (Hi, Sweetie!) there and she and her husband are very special to Dennis and me.  And she arranged for several PR people to make heart squares for our wedding quilt, which I cherish every day when I make the bed.

This book is a compilation of sewing tips from PR members. I know so many of the contributors. I am going to sit down and enjoy it throroughly! Afterwards, I’ll give you a review.

This also came:


What is it?

Can you guess what it is? Why I’m excited?

Here’s another hint before I go back to correcting the essays I have to return to my students tomorrow:


Hint hint hint

P.S. I’m still knitting on the boatneck. Haven’t started waist shaping yet. The stashbustarmy shawlette is ready for the edging. I haven’t decided what to do, though…

The quest for the Perfect Knitting Bag, part 1

In the seach for the Perfect Knitting Bag, I am trying out different ideas, and today I made this:

knitting bag 1

The closed knitting bag, version 1.0.

It’s basicly a Box Bag, but made in a slightly larger size.  This one is about 20 cm  (8″) high, 18 cm (7″) wide and 10 cm (4″) deep. It is made from 2 pieces of fabric measuring 55 cm (22″)  X 36 cm (14.5″) (I cut the fabric from two fat quarters I had, and cut it so I would have some leftover for a small zippered pouch and a needle book).

open knitting bag

See the matching pouch and needle book:-)

I added snaps to the lining and to the pouch, to keep the pouch from dissappearing (this must happen to other people than me!).


Snaps - to keep the pouch from running away..

I also made a small needle book to keep the darning needles under control.

needle book

Close up of needle book. Made in a hurry, and it shows!

Into the bag moved my current favorite knitting WIP: The SilkBlend Raspberry boatneck. I seperated the sleeves from the body yesterday evening. It will fit for a while,  and when the knitting is too big, it’s probably better to keep it at home, anyway.

And I also moved in some stuff :

  • Pencil (not that I use it much, now that I have my Iphone) and my sketch with measurements (in other cases, the pattern).
  • The needle book containing two darning needles of different sizes.
  • Pair of small scissors.
  • Crochet hook.
  • Stitch holder.
  • Safety pin with stitch markers.
  • Measuring tape.
in the bag

Inside the pouch

Do you think anything is missing? Please let me know. And tell me what notions you always have in your knitting bag!

What I like about this bag: I made it soft (using a light interfacing), to make it easy to stuff into my school bag and/or purse. I like the look of this better than drawstring bags – it’s more clean cut with the more squarish shape.. I really like the snaps, to keep the pouch in place – allthough in another version, I think I would just use one big magnetic snap instead (but I didn’t have that in the house).

What I think could be better: The shape. I want one that’s more square, but I still want it to be soft enough to be pushed into my purse. Also – it needs to be a little bigger to be perfect (well, depending on the project, naturally. No reason for a gigantic bag for a pair of mittens). And the pouch should be a bit bigger, too.

What do you think would make the Perfect Knitting Bag?